Friday, March 17, 2017

the beauty of possibility

Moving to a new state with four young children, moving 1,000+ miles away from most of our family and all of our friends to a state where we knew literally three people, was difficult. When I say difficult, I am under-exaggerating to the thousandth degree. There were many times I questioned not only our decision, but our actual sanity. The most difficult part by far, as in like 84,539 miles, was seeing how it affected our daughter. At the time, I kind of hated myself for doing that to her.

Today my spectacularly awesome and sometimes sassy daughter got picked up by a friend's mom to go to a homeschool day at the roller skating rink. When I told her about the invitation, her face transformed into joy. It was so beautiful. She went with two friends from our homeschool group and I imagine giggling and jokes in the car. I imagine more giggling and silliness at the rink. I imagine her coming home tired and happy.

I really couldn't have imagined that smile and friendship and sense of community two years ago when we were living in a rental house and not sure about a homeschool group and searching for a church and not sure if anyone would accept one of our nine offers on eight houses and clueless about where we would live. It was a mess. An absolute mess. We were off the charts stressed. We also believed we were in the right place for our family. On paper, that makes no sense. In our hearts, we believed we were in the right place, even when it was messy and painful and downright awful. Yet here we are two years later and we are making our way. We still miss many of our favorite people in Minnesota and miss being closer to family in Michigan, but Colorado is our home. We have started to create community here. We have friends here. We have new jobs here. So much has changed in a little over two years.

None of the positive or negative changes take away from the love and friendship we miss in MN. Instead it adds to our life experiences, it enriches us, it challenges us, and we grow. In fits and starts, sometimes drowning in rain and sometimes scorching in sunshine, we grow.

Am I recommending a cross-country move to the great unknown for everyone? Ummmmmm. NOPE! I'm recommending we all stretch ourselves a bit now and again. I'm recommending we think about why we're here, what we're made for, and what makes us giddy. I'm recommending that we're open to the possibility of good in the unknown. Because down the road, new friends are waiting. New opportunities are calling your name. There might even be roller skating. And it's scary and beautiful and bonkers and good.

Are you a creature of habit or do you routinely stretch yourself? Have you tried something new lately?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

tick tock

I'll be 40 in May. I'm not staring down the date with dread. I don't feel or act 40, whatever 40 is supposed to feel or act like, although some days I think I look about 59. It's a lovely combination of wrinkles, prematurely gray hair, and continued adult acne. I'm painting a pretty picture here, aren't I? But this isn't about my looks. It's about my life. My time here.

I find myself at this point in my life where I feel the deep need to start carving time and space for what matters to me. It's becoming all too clear that life is stupidly and ridiculously short, so what the heck am I doing wasting my time? Instead of burying my head in the sand and ignoring the tick tock of a traditionally major birthday that signifies I'm over the hill so it's all downhill from here (ha!), I'm changing the things I don't like. I'm stepping back from time commitments that don't suit me or speak to my passions. I'm saying yes to things that ignite a flame in my soul and serve others with the best of me.

It's so cliche, this evaluation of life as a major birthday approaches, but it's for a good reason. We wake up and we're like, dude, I don't have time for this nonsense. I am who I am and this is my skill set and these are my passions and it's about time I use them and use them well and wisely. I'm as old as I've ever been, but I'm also as young as I'll ever be again. So, let's get to it already.

Truth be told, I had a major freakout when I turned 25. I was really close to graduating from college, which took longer because I transferred approximately 8.32 trillion times because a)started at the wrong school, b) met and married my husband after my sophomore year at school #2 c) began moving all over with the Air Force husband and picking up college credits whenever we lived somewhere long enough. We were living somewhere that didn't feel like home. I didn't have a degree or a "real job." It just wasn't what I imagined 25 would look like. Then I graduated and we moved back to places where it snows every winter and I started cranking out little people, and I haven't freaked out about a birthday since, so I really see no reason to start now.

I don't know where my end of the road is. Will it be sudden or long and drawn out with plenty of time for me to armchair quarterback the bejesus out of the way I used my time here. (Don't you just know I'll armchair quarterback, if given the chance. Tis the life of a non-bovine ruminator.) I hope I'll know I did the best I could with what I had for as long as I could. I hope I won't be filled with regret on how I spent my time. I pray I'll know I answered God's nudges and outright shouts to use this precious life to share love and Jesus and hope. I pray that the people I love will feel up to their eyeballs loved by me, no questions asked and no doubt about it.

To that end, I'm dropping some things from my life. I can always pick them back up later, but they don't fit right now. I need some wiggle room for other stuff. Aren't I fortunate to be in a place in my life in a country in this world that I can make decisions not based on how I'll feed my children or where we'll sleep tonight. I don't take that for granted. Really, most of us that write blogs about living our "true life" or being a good parent or blahblahyadayada are coming from such a place of surplus. We have so much. I take that very seriously.

It's one thing to say I take that very seriously and another thing entirely to live like I take that seriously. 40 is telling me it's time to kick it up a notch. Here's to a life well lived and love freely given. Today and tomorrow and the next day, too.